Thursday, January 7, 2016

Killarney National Park

Executive summary by darmansjah

For the active, walking and cycling are the best ways to see the National Park. There is a network of surfaced tracks in the Muckross, Knockreer and Ross Island areas of the park which are ideal for both cyclists and walkers. Bicycles can be rented in and around Killarney Town . There are numerous low-level walks as well as some marked circular routes and some nature trails in the Muckross area. In addition there is a mining trail in Ross Island . All routes provide the visitor with wonderful views of Killarney's spectacular scenery. Maps and booklets can be obtained at the park information centres at Muckross House and at the Gate Lodge of Killarney House.

For those that prefer something a little more energetic there is the magical Gap of Dunloe trip. This involves a boat trip from Ross Castle through the Lower and Middle lakes into the upper lake to Lord Brandon's Cottage. (Boat operators will take bikes on the trip) From here you can either, walk, cycle or take a pony and trap through the 12 kilometres to the Gap of Dunloe to Kate Kearney's Cottage. Alternatively you can walk along the Mass Path and up on to the Old Kenmare Road which will bring you back to Muckross and Killarney. This is very much a trip for seasoned walkers. The trip is also done in reverse with coach transport to Kate Kearney's Cottage , pony and trap through the Gap of Dunloe and boat through the lakes to Ross Castle with coach back to Killarney Town .

Boat trips are available at Ross Castle and at Dundag in Muckross. There are trips to Innisfallen Island on the Lower Lake and to Dinis Cottage on the Middle Lake . Two covered waterbuses operate from Ross Castle on the Lower Lake .

Horse drawn jaunting cars are available in Killarney Town and in Muckross and offer a traditional and enjoyable way of experiencing the National Park.

Knockreer, Killarney House and Ross Island are all within walking distance of Killarney Town . Muckross House and Gardens, Walled Garden Restaurant and Traditional Farms and can be accessed by the motor entrance on the Kenmare Road N71 approximately 6.5 kilometres from the town.

The drive from Killarney Town along the Kenmare Road N71 to Moll's Gap offers superb views of the lakes and Killarney Valley .

Places to visit in the National Park includes

Muckross House and Gardens and Traditional Farms, Torc Waterfall, Dinis Cottage and the Meeting of the Waters, Knockreer and Killarney House, Ross Castle, Ross Island, Innisfallen Island, Tomies Oakwood, O'Sullivan's Cascade, Ladies View, Muckross Abbey.

Killarney National Park is located beside the town of Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland. It was the first national park established in Ireland, created when Muckross Estate was donated to the Irish state in 1932. The park has since been substantially expanded and encompasses over 102.89 km2 (25,425 acres) of diverse ecology, including the Lakes of Killarney, Oak and Yew woodlands of international importance, and mountain peaks. It has Ireland's only native herd of Red Deer and the most extensive covering of native forest remaining in Ireland. The park is of high ecological value because of the quality, diversity, and extensiveness of many of its habitats and the wide variety of species that they accommodate, some of which are rare. The park was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1981.The park forms part of a Special Area of Conservation.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service is responsible for the management and administration of the park. Nature conservation is the main objective of the park, and ecosystems in their natural state are highly valued.The park is also known for its beautiful scenery. Recreation and tourism amenities are also provided for.

The park is open for tourism year-round. There is a visitor and education centre at Muckross House. Visitor attractions in the park include Dinis Cottage, Knockreer Demesne, Inisfallen Island, Ladies View, the Meeting of the Waters and the Old Weir Bridge, Muckross Abbey, Muckross House, the Muckross Peninsula, the Old Kenmare Road, O'Sullivan's Cascade, Ross Castle and Ross Island, Tomies Oakwood, and Torc Waterfall. There is a network of surfaced paths in the Knockreer, Muckross, and Ross Island areas that can be used by cyclists and walkers. The Old Kenmare Road and the track around Tomies Oakwood have spectacular views over Lough Leane and Killarney. Boat trips on the lakes are available.

Muckross House is a Victorian mansion, located close to Muckross Lake's eastern shore, beneath the backdrop of Mangerton and Torc mountains. The house has now been restored and attracts more than 250,000 visitors a year. Muckross Gardens are famous for their collection of rhododendrons, hybrids and azaleas, and exotic trees. Muckross Traditional Farms is a working farm project that recreates Irish rural life in the 1930s, prior to electrification. Knockreer House is used as the National Park Education Centre

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